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Brookyln Nets star Kyrie Irving to return Sunday against the Grizzlies

Vincent Frank
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Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving has not suited up in the past seven games after being suspended by the team for sharing a documentary on social media that had antisemitism embedded within it.

In announcing the suspension, Brooklyn indicated that Irving needed to complete six tasks in order to return to the hardwood. That’s apparently happened.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving could return as soon as Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“Kyrie is continuing his journey of dialogue and education. He has been grappling with the full weight of the impact of his voice and actions, particularly in the Jewish community. Kyrie rejects Antisemitism in any form, and he’s dedicated to bettering himself and increasing his level of understanding,” NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio told ESPN. “He plans to continue this journey well into the future to ensure that his words and actions align with his pursuit of truth and knowledge.”

Irving, 30, has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers — meaning that he’ll miss at least eight outings.

Related: Kyrie Irving and NBA’s top-50 players of 2022-23

What to expect in Kyrie Irving return to the Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn is coming off a disastrous blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings in which it gave up a resounding 153 points. The team is in the midst of a brutal start to the season in which it boasts a 6-9 record.

As for Irving, there was some talk that he might have played his final game with the Nets after initially refusing to apologize for sharing the aforementioned video. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

  • Kyrie Irving stats (2022-23): 26.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.1 APG, 45% shooting, 28% 3-point

Prior to being suspended, the Nets boasted a 2-6 record with Irving on the court. It is 4-3 with him sidelined. Despite that split, Brooklyn will welcome him back without a problem from an on-court perspective.

Nets players have expressed surprise recently that Irving had not already returned from suspension. He ended up apologizing for sharing the antisemitic video, which was one of the tasks the All-Star had to complete before returning to action.

Meanwhile, the NBPA had indicated that it was planning to appeal Irving’s suspension. That’s now a moot point.

Whether this means Kyrie Irving is out of the woods remains to be seen. He’s set to become a free agent following the season and there’s been a lack of interest in his services. Despite this, other star players have recently gone to bat for the NBA champion.

“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play,” LeBron James on Kyrie Irving suspension. “That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.”

It will certainly be interesting to see what becomes of this. What we do know is that Irving has been a central figure in the drama that has defined the Nets in recent years. The firing of Steve Nash, Ben Simmons ugly start to the season and Kevin Durant’s previous trade request all add another layer to this.